UAE job market. What’s really going on?

Overview: Mera beta Dubai me rahta hai. Fikr mat kijie. Main aapka paisa wapas kar dungi. If translated into English, it means, “My son lives in Dubai. Don’t worry. I will pay off my debt in full.” This is not a Bollywood film dialogue. A proud mother tells her neighbour in our home-town. What she said during my formative years, still resonates with me. Millions of expats based in Dubai will find coherence in the conversation exchanged between two mothers; one with a son based in Dubai, another with a desire to send her son there.

It is better left unsaid that the UAE is acclaimed to be the symbol of rapid progress and victory of humanity over unfavorable circumstances. Home of sand, fuel and ocean, the success story of the UAE is fabulous. Every fifth citizen of the UAE is a millionaire. It’s amazing in itself, isn’t it?

UAE as a business hub:

UAE is one of the most sought-after destinations as it offers all what an expat can desire for; be it peace or tranquility, safety or security, identity or recognition, wealth or prosperity. You will end up appreciating the infrastructures which have enhanced its beauty and transformed it into the country of immense scope with millions of opportunities. Dubai, the most vibrant city of the UAE, has emerged on the world map as a city of skyscrapers, thanks to the construction boom in the past that resulted into building Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest man-made structure. Due to its geographic location, it is also known as the trading centre for the entire Middle East and Africa. The existing transportation network; be it Railways, Airports, Seaports or Roads, has lured the large multi-national companies to set their foothold firmly and grow faster. It is Mecca for the entertainment lovers also as it is known for world-class shopping malls, stadiums, sports clubs etc. Investment activity is also aimed at agriculture and water sectors to boost the status-quo of green spaces, gardens and agricultural fields. With the establishment of free-zones in every emirate, the UAE government has opened the market for the businesses to grow fast and amass wealth. As of 2013, the UAE was the fifth largest international migrant stock in the world, with 7.8 million migrants out of a total population of 9.2 million. In other words, the expats form 90% of the UAE’s local population. In a nut shell, it has everything to offer to someone, and something to offer to everyone. Interesting, as it appears!

UAE job market:

With all the world class infrastructures and facilities that catapult Dubai into the league of Paris, London and New York, there is a growing uncertainty. Let us have a pose and analyze. What is really going on?

UAE has the most diversified economy in the GCC region. Still, petroleum and natural gas are central to its economy. It is considered to be sine quo non as it contributes 2/3 of the UAE economy. A sharp downswing in oil prices which is averaging $41 per barrel for 2016 (down from an assumption of $51 per barrel in the January Global Economic Prospects) has negatively affected the UAE market as reported by World Bank. The investors and project developers are reluctant to pump in large-scale investment with growing market uncertainty which looms large due to financial melt-down across the globe.

Where UAE stands now in terms of employment opportunities?

There is no denying that finding a job in the UAE market is a tall order at the moment. But, the market is equally challenging everywhere, correct? Why so much brouhaha over it, then?

Despite all the odds, the UAE still remains the most preferred destination for the expats who wish to contribute to the growth and be the part of the success story. With ongoing large-scale projects like Expo 2020, Mall of the World, Dubai Metro Route, Museum of the Future, Royal Atlantis Resort etc. the shape of Dubai is going to be further improved. With these ongoing projects and several others in the offing encompassing Consumer Goods/ FMCG, Manufacturing, IT & Telecom, Statistics & Data Mining and Health Care sectors, there is a growing expectation amongst the job-seekers that the days to come will magnify the brightness of hopes and expectations as far as employment opportunities are concerned.

However, the opportunities will remain limited for the aspirants looking for entries in Finance & Accounting, HR & Admin, IT & Telecom, Customer Service and Marketing Communications.

The survey conducted by MonsterGulf will provide insights about the industries and their growth stories between 2015 and 2016.


Source: Monster Employment Index

Experts Views:

To get the clear picture of job market and its future outlook in the UAE, we need to understand what the industry experts have to say. There are several thought-leaders who opined quite positively about the

UAE job market.

Mary Anne Thompson, President and Founder – GoinGlobal

Home to many expats who enjoy a comfortable life, as do locals, the country remains optimistic despite a predicted gradual economic slowdown due to falling oil prices and the softening of the UAE’s real estate market.

Sanjay Modi, Managing Director –, APAC & Middle East

The UAE is the most promising market among the regions monitored. This can be attributed to the nation’s commitment to diversifying its economy and becoming less reliant on oil export revenues. With ambitious visions and developments undergoing in many sectors, the government’s strategy has succeeded in reducing the impact of the reduced oil prices on the UAE economy. Through time, and as developments continue, we believe demand for talent in the UAE will increase.

Tarun Aggarwal, Business Head –

The outlook for UAE’s job market is seeing a shift in expectation of new jobs creation in spite of the slump feared due to lower oil and trading revenues.

The awareness about available job opportunities, hiring potential of a company and the desired skills are the top prerequisites for the job seekers to materialize their dreams in the UAE which is considered to be the most promising job market across the GCC region.


As per a report published in Khaleej Times, the economic growth of the UAE is expected to gain momentum because of recovery in oil prices combined with growing public and private sector will see real GDP growth rise five per cent a year from 2017-2020.

The aspirants must update themselves with the available job opportunities, hiring potential of a company and the desired skills requirement to materialize their dreams in the most vibrant country of the GCC.

I strongly believe that the HR departments of the UAE based companies will be busier in lining up the best talents in 2017 because of the various large-scale projects on the horizon.

Wishing you all the very best!

About the Author: Mohammed Sharique Anwar


The writer is an NRI (Non-resident Indian) based in Dubai, UAE. He regularly contributes to various local and international magazines. He is currently working on his first novel, A Lonely Woman In Honolulu.

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